Thursday, 5 September 2013

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (Young Adult, 10/10E)

18 September 2012, Scholastic, 416 pages, Hardcover, Personal copy (purchased after receiving an advanced review copy)

Themes: Celtic mythology, treasure hunts, psychics, love, death, identity.

Content: occasional strong language, lovely squishy moments.

Book Summary
Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her. His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.
But Gansey is different. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.
For as long as she can remember, Blue has been told by her psychic family that she will kill her true love. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.
Amy's Thoughts
When I first read this book, I thought it was another standalone, like The Scorpio Races, Ms Stiefvater's previous novel. So as I neared the end, I began to panic - how will all these threads be tied up? How will they find what they're looking for?? Who will make it to the end alive??? Needless to say, I was TREMENDOUSLY RELIEVED when I discovered that not only is this the first in a series, but there are scheduled to be FOUR of them! This is particularly brilliant because, well, The Raven Boys is particularly brilliant :D

There are very few books that I can read, reach the end, then flip the book back over to start again at the beginning. This is one of them, and I am on the edge of my seat with anticipation as the release of book 2, The Dream Thieves, draws near (Sept). As always with Ms Stiefvater's stories, the characterisation in this novel is what truly astounds: the four boys and Blue, the main character are drawn with such realism and attention to detail that you are drawn into their lives and worlds as though they are real friends of yours.

I've been reading (devouring?) Ms Stiefvater's blog lately, and I came across a post she wrote several years ago about how, in art, the focal point is made stronger if it is also the point of highest contrast in the image. Ms Stiefvater applies this principle deftly to her writing, creating characters that play off each other in subtlely contrasting ways, supporting and rounding out and highlighting each other, and the themes of the story.

This is one of my favouritest books ever. Beautiful, lyrical prose, superlative characterisation, myths and mystery, and of course, a love story :o) Go read it now! :)

For more information, see

Suggested Reads
Check out Maggie Stiefvater's other series, The Wolves of Mercy Falls (Shiver, Linger and Forever), for more deft characterisation and beautifully drawn emotions.

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